The shah was constitutionally designated supreme commander of the armed forces, and important decisions regarding Iran's defense needs were made by him.
He was exercise operational control through the supreme commander`s staff, a joint organization that loosely was coordinate the activities of the three services.

The chief of the supreme commander`s staff, was second in command; the staff included a vice chief of staff and directors of personnel, intelligence, operations, logistics, plans, communications, and fiscal matters. Though within the chain of command, the supreme commander's staff served more as coordinating than a command body, and the three service chiefs were encouraged to consult directly with the shah.

The minister of war, as a cabinet minister, was not in the military chain of command. He had legislative and budgetary roll. The vice minister of war (General Toufanian) was in charge of implementing the shah's decisions regarding arms procurement and thus was a highly visible and important figure during the 1970s.

Imperial Iranian Ground Force

Imperial Iranian Air Force

Imperial Iranian Navy

Imperial Iranian Gendarmerie